Amazon.com launched Project Zero earlier this month, a new anti-counterfeiting program that allows companies to remove counterfeit reproductions of their products from the online marketplace without first seeking permission from Amazon.
Before Project Zero, companies had to request that Amazon remove counterfeit products. Now, according to Amazon, Project Zero offers three new tools to “empower brands to help drive counterfeits to zero.”
- Automated protections
Amazon asserts that it can use “machine learning expertise” to scan storefronts and remove suspected counterfeit products without being asked by a company to do so. Companies provide Amazon with their logos and trademarks, which Amazon uses to scan product listings for counterfeits.
- A self-service counterfeit removal tool
This tool allows companies to bypass Amazon and remove counterfeits themselves—without having to report the counterfeit to Amazon for removal.
- Product sterilization
A company participating in this service must apply unique codes to each unit. Amazon then tracks the sale of every unit of that type to confirm whether it is authentic (i.e. has the unique code) or counterfeit. This service costs between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, based on the volume of products at issue. As of now, Project Zero is available only in the U.S. and is an invite-only program, for which companies can join a waitlist. To participate in the project, the company must have a government-registered trademark and have enrolled their brand(s) in Amazon Brand Registry.
Of course, counterfeit sales on online marketplaces are only a fraction of the challenges brands face on online marketplaces. Many companies understand that unauthorized sales of non-counterfeit products by low-quality resellers also do serious damage to their bottom line, reputation and customer goodwill. Project Zero does not appear to address the unauthorized sale issue.